Meet the 2008 MacArthur Fellows

  • Profile portrait of Chimamanda Adichie

    Chimamanda Adichie

    Fiction Writer

    Exploring the circumstances that lead to ethnic conflict in richly imagined novels and stories inspired by events in her native Nigeria.

  • Profile portrait of Will Allen

    Will Allen

    Urban Farmer

    Transforming the cultivation, production, and delivery of healthy foods to underserved, urban populations through a novel synthesis of low-cost farming technologies.

  • Profile portrait of Regina Benjamin

    Regina Benjamin

    Rural Family Physician

    Delivering high-quality medical care to diverse, underserved communities in Alabama and ensuring that the most vulnerable among us are not forgotten.

  • Profile portrait of Kirsten Bomblies

    Kirsten Bomblies

    Plant Evolutionary Geneticist

    Opening avenues into the mysteries of how new species originate through her explorations of incompatible hybrids as a mechanism for speciation in shared ecological niches.

  • Profile portrait of Tara Donovan

    Tara Donovan


    Transforming accumulations of ordinary materials into visually arresting, sculptural works reminiscent of geological and biological forms.

  • Profile portrait of Wafaa El-Sadr

    Wafaa El-Sadr

    Infectious Disease Physician

    Introducing multi-pronged treatment strategies for some of the most pressing pandemics of our time — HIV/AIDS and TB — diseases that often afflict people with the least access to quality health care.

  • Profile portrait of Andrea Ghez

    Andrea Ghez


    Using novel, ground-based telescopic techniques to identify thousands of new star systems and illuminate the role of super-massive black holes in the evolution of galaxies.

  • Profile portrait of Stephen Houston

    Stephen Houston

    Anthropologist / Epigrapher

    Illuminating the intellectual and emotional life of ancient Mesoamerican peoples through insightful interpretations of hieroglyphic inscriptions and figural art.

  • Profile portrait of Mary Jackson

    Mary Jackson

    Fiber Artist

    Translating practical designs into intricately coiled vessels that preserve the centuries-old craft of sweetgrass basketry and push the tradition in stunning new directions.

  • Profile portrait of Leila Josefowicz

    Leila Josefowicz


    Broadening the instrument’s repertoire and captivating audiences through her juxtaposition of the avant-garde and eclectic with the more traditional.

  • Profile portrait of Alexei Kitaev

    Alexei Kitaev

    Physicist / Computer Scientist

    Deepening insights into the fundamental nature of quantum physics and bringing us closer to realizing the full potential of quantum computing.

  • Profile portrait of Walter Kitundu

    Walter Kitundu

    Multimedia Artist

    Inventing instruments inspired by experimental and traditional musical forms to produce electro-acoustic works that navigate the boundary between live and recorded performance.

  • Profile portrait of Susan Mango

    Susan Mango

    Developmental Biologist

    Synthesizing approaches from genetics, genomics, ecology, and embryology to address one of the most challenging questions in developmental biology — how organs are formed.

  • Profile portrait of Diane Meier

    Diane Meier


    Transforming treatment for the seriously ill into more humane and effective care.

  • Profile portrait of David Montgomery

    David Montgomery


    Unsettling accepted wisdom about both local and global environmental change by exploring the ecological consequences of a wide range of Earth surface processes.

  • Profile portrait of John Ochsendorf

    John Ochsendorf

    Structural Engineer / Architectural Preservationist

    Restoring structures from the distant past and identifying ancient technologies for use in contemporary constructions.

  • Profile portrait of Peter Pronovost

    Peter Pronovost

    Critical Care Physician

    Devising life-saving, clinical practices that are improving patient safety in hospitals and sparing countless lives from the often deadly consequences of human error.

  • Profile portrait of Adam Riess

    Adam Riess


    Designing experiments and devices to advance our understanding of the geometry of the universe and to trace the story of both its beginning and its end.

  • Profile portrait of Alex Ross

    Alex Ross

    Music Critic

    Offering both highly specialized and casual readers new ways of thinking about the music of the past and its place in our future.

  • Profile portrait of Nancy Siraisi

    Nancy Siraisi

    Historian of Medicine

    Elucidating in meticulously researched and elegant prose the profound impact of medical theory and practice on Renaissance society, culture, and religion.

  • Profile portrait of Marin Soljačić

    Marin Soljačić

    Optical Physicist

    Demonstrating both theoretically and experimentally that power can be transmitted wirelessly, potentially leading to a range of electrical devices that can operate without batteries or wall connections.

  • Profile portrait of Sally Temple

    Sally Temple


    Tracing the natural interactions of differentiating neurons in the development of complex, heterogeneous tissue to bring us closer to effective clinical treatments for central nervous system damage.

  • Profile portrait of Jennifer Tipton

    Jennifer Tipton

    Stage Lighting Designer

    Pushing the visual boundaries of her art form with painterly lighting that evokes mood and sculpts movement in dance, drama, and opera.

  • Profile portrait of Rachel Wilson

    Rachel Wilson

    Experimental Neurobiologist

    Integrating electrophysiology, neuropharmacology, molecular genetics, and anatomy to measure the activity of neurons in the diminutive brain of the fruit fly.

  • Profile portrait of Miguel Zenón

    Miguel Zenón


    Drawing from a variety of jazz idioms and the indigenous music of his native Puerto Rico to create a new language of complex, yet accessible sounds that overflow with emotion.


25 New MacArthur Fellows Announced

MacArthur named 25 new MacArthur Fellows for 2008. This past week, the recipients learned in a single phone call from the Foundation that they will each receive $500,000 in “no strings attached” support over the ...
Stay Informed
Sign up for periodic news updates and event invitations.
Connect with us on social media or view all of our social media content in one place.